The Favorite Professors Of Top MBAs

Booth’s Gregory Bunch

Gregory Bunch, New Venture Strategy. This class taught me frameworks and the right questions to ask when evaluating business ideas and strategy models. Bunch taught the class with a methods approach, challenging me to learn how to find new companies and evaluate them with the frameworks we had learned. He also spent time outside of class providing thoughtful feedback on every students’ startup ideas to augment our learning process. He was also very personable, drawing on the experience of his students and his own industry colleagues to add new insights to the class.”

–  Victor Ojeleye, University of Chicago (Booth)

“My favorite MBA professor is Severin St. Martin who is the Director of the Carlson Consulting Enterprise. Sev joined Carlson this year and immediately impacted my development. His style of professional respect allowed me to grow as a leader. However, he was also always there for ideas when I needed him. Moreover, Sev provided me the tools for success but allowed me to apply them without too much direction. Then, when difficulties arose, he provided uncanny commentary that redirected me in a way that allowed me to make the result my own. I can tell that his time leading in the Army and at BCG perfected his style of leadership that he now shares with all Carlson students.”

– Danny Plooster, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Walid Hejazi, Associate Professor of International Business, is an exceptionally funny and caring professor. It probably played to his advantage that he taught one of my favourite courses, Economic Environment of Business (Macro Economics). Walid is the type of honest professor who can tell you that your answer is wrong and ensure you understand why and what the right answer is without making you feel embarrassed. Walid is also engaged in so many different aspects of the Rotman experience as he leverages his own personal network to create opportunities for Rotman students to participate in Global Consulting Projects and International Study Tours. He’s also engaged in some fantastic research projects on topics related to gender parity in business, and frequently represents Rotman as a guest pundit on top news programs like Bloomberg and CBC. He’s a great ambassador for our school.”

– Alex Walker Turner, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Fuqua’s Gráinne Fitzsimons

Gráinne Fitzsimons, who teaches the Leadership, Ethics, and Organizations (LEO) course within Fuqua’s core curriculum (fun fact – Gráinne is Gavan’s sister!). Gráinne thoughtfully and masterfully managed difficult conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion. She challenged us to think more deeply about how to drive employee engagement, improve leadership, and build a meaningful culture that celebrates cognitive diversity. Her class is where I discovered my passion for human capital! Also, she was kind enough to come out for a “ladies night” and discuss her research with a small group of Fuqua women over wine. What’s not to love?!”

– Jennifer Nicole Miller, Duke University (Fuqua)

 “The professors at Krannert were remarkable. Some of them shaped my thinking and my understanding of the world as a whole. I would like to highlight the impact that Professor John Umbeck had on me personally. Although he is an expert in Economics, his pragmatism, sense of humor, and simplicity in explaining complex world problems made me look forward to his classes. No matter how sophisticated a finance problem micro-economic analysis, was, Professor Umbeck had the solution intertwined with a joke and a great sense of detail. Outside of classes, he challenged me on the intellectual, political, and cultural l levels, only to fascinate me further of how well-rounded he is.”

– Lamis Sleiman, Purdue University (Krannert)

“I took Corporate Financial Accounting with Professor Ryan Ball and really enjoyed the classroom experience. Professor Ball has a way of presenting what some might consider dry material in a very engaging and dynamic way. He infuses humor, interesting stories, current events, an interactive environment, and relevant case studies into his lectures. He also demonstrated that he was concerned with and committed to our education outside of the classroom. Professor Ball made himself exceedingly available to assist in learning during office hours and beyond. Additionally, Professor Ball actively participates in other elements of the MBA experience aside from academics. One of the student organizations that I am involved with, the Armed Forces Association at Ross, forged a great relationship with him as a faculty partner. Professor Ball moderated a panel for us during one of our events and ran a mock classroom for prospective military students. I admire Ryan Ball for his contributions to Ross both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Aaron Silver, University of Michigan (Ross)

Negotiations professor Vijaya Venkataramani was someone truly special due to her impact and strength in her teaching skills. It is statistically proven that women, on average, do not ask for what they are entitled to in the workplace as much as men. Yet, Professor Vijaya was a strong woman who coached us on how to strategically navigate work environments to reach compensation that matches our skill set. Professor Vijaya’s presence commanded the room. She challenged our perspectives, created healthy debates and provided tangible lessons for the future. I was truly impressed that a professor who taught one of the most valued classes in the shortest amount of time (7 weeks) had such an impact on all her students.”

– Gabrielle Kuey, University of Maryland (Smith)

Ohio State’s Jay Dial

“My favorite MBA professor was our instructor for Strategy, Jay Dial. In addition to his impeccable style, case-specific cufflinks, and unique start to each class, he provided the course that challenged my thought processes the most. He was a professor that was able to truly break down cases and guide a class of students to expose a “hidden layer” to deepen understanding of business concepts and flip conventional thinking on its head. This was truly an MBA level class and one I do not believe I would have appreciated if I had taken it as an undergrad.”

 – Tada Yamamoto, Ohio State (Fisher)

Marty Anderson, a part-time Babson faculty member and independent consultant, had one mission when he taught: to turn the classroom experience onto its head. While most of academia subscribes to case studies and lectures as their pedagogical agent, Marty deviated and centered his curriculum around “living case studies,” which were aggregations of video clips and photos, most of which he took himself, to amplify our understanding of user-centered experiences, customers and business ecosystems. He entranced his audience of students and pushed them to observe the very subtle details that revealed insights which laid the premise for opportunity and innovation. In parallel, he also believed in the concept of “social pull,” which is a business’s ability to leverage social impact as an opportunity to reign in customers and emerging revenue channels. He wasn’t the most empathetic teacher, nor was he the most stubborn; instead, he encompassed the traits of a deity that all business leaders should replicate: know your customer, know your ecosystem, create social value.”

Ross Chesnick, Babson College (Olin)

“Operations Professor Morvarid Rahmani really impressed me. Not only is she a very smart and approachable professor, but she readily leverages different teaching techniques and feedback mechanisms to ensure students are getting the most out of her course. Professor Rahmani is also very tech-savvy and effectively integrates real-world issues into the classroom.”

– Kevin Boldt, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

Stern’s JP Eggers

JP Eggers for Strategy (core). As someone with little prior formal business education, having him my first semester was a very helpful way to get acclimated. The way he broke down cases and worked through frameworks reminded me of literature and history classes from my liberal arts degree.”

– Ward Wolff, New York University (Stern)

Professor Thomas Gruca is nothing short of a witty genius. I look to him for quick and concise answers to large complex problems. His constructive criticism is a staple in the Iowa MBA program and his students are the better for it. I strive to provide quantitative evidence for every assumption that I make as a marketer and admit uncertainty where necessary. I am exponentially better at listening to others, asking the right questions, and truly understanding what the data is telling me. I will never fear executive presentations after taking Marketing Management with Professor Gruca.”

– Meganne Franks, University of Iowa (Tippie)

Who was your favorite business school professor? What did he or she do that made your MBA experience so special? Honor that professor in the comments below.

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